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Meynell,  Viola 
Julian  Grenfell 


DA 

57M 

G8MH 

1917 

C.I 

ROBA 


I 


I 


JULIAN  GRENFELL 


VIOLA  MEYNELL 


hit  ed  from  THE  DUBLIN  REVIEW 


BURNS  y  GATES 
28,  ORCHARD  STREET,  LONDON,  W. 


/ 


fig 


43^ 


JULIAN  GRENFELL 

JULIAN  GRENFELL  had  such  shining  qualities  of 
youth,  such  strength  and  courage  and  love,  that  to 
others  who  are  young  he  seems  like  the  perfection  of 
themselves.  They  know  so  well  day  by  day  just  what 
their  own  youth  can  fall  to  and  rise  to  ;  and  it  is  when 
their  youth  rises  most,  to  its  utmost  fierceness  and 
tenderness,  that  they  come  near  to  him,  who  was  made 
of  those  things.  And  the  young  can  mourn  in  their  own 
special  way  the  young  that  die  ;  it  is  they  who  realize 
that  when  a  man  of  few  years  dies,  a  mature  man  and  an 
old  man  die  too  ;  and  it  is  they  who  have  ahead  of  them 
all  their  maturity  and  age  in  which  still  to  want  the 
companionship  that  has  failed.  They  look  forward  to  all 
those  "  partings  still  to  be."  They  have  lost  a  known 
friend  now,  but  all  their  lives  they  will  be  losing  someone 
different,  and  unimaginable.  (It  is  one  of  the  terrors  of 
their  loss  of  one  they  love — the  thought  that  in  what  he 
would  have  become  and  said  and  thought  and  done,  he  is 
unknown  like  a  stranger.)  They  know  that  hardly  an 
event  will  arise  in  their  most  distant  days  which  will 
not  be  far  less  than  it  might  have  been.  As  they  look 
forward  to  their  sure  and  simple  possessions  which  they 
prize,  weather  and  firelight  and  activity  and  growth,  the 
friend  who  would  have  contributed  a  richness  they  cannot 
imagine  is  only  a  phantom  there — dear,  and  growing 
stranger.  They  have  plenty  of  time  ahead  to  be  losers  of 
so  many  things — what,  they  will  never  know.  The  young 
are  like  a  mourner  who  lingers  on  at  a  grave  after  all  the 
others  have  departed. 

When  Julian  Grenfell,  who  died  when  he  was  twenty- 
seven,  sent  home  from  the  trenches  his  poem  Into  Battle 
he  not  only  sent  great  and  pure  poetry  but  also  tidings 
about  the  fighter  that  had  the  sound  of  his  own  single 
discovery.  The  noble  self-sacrifice  of  the  fighter  was 
well  known,  and  in  everyone's  heart  ;  the  mere  adven- 
turous joy  in  the  clash  of  arms  with  which  some  could 
carry  through  this  many-sided  task  of  battle  was  known 


Julian  Grenfell 


too.  But,  though  it  may  not  have  fallen  to  Julian 
Grenfell  alone  to  feel,  it  has  fallen  to  him  alone  to  express 
those  two  things  so  combined  until  they  brought  to  him 
the  certainty  of  Nature's  utter  sanction  of  the  fighter,  and 
the  consciousness  of  the  whole  universe  upholding  him 
with  all  her  mysteries.  For  what  he  wrote  of  a  kind  of 
natural  ecstasy  in  the  upright  soldier's  heart,  Julian 
Grenfell  is  among  the  most  notable  figures  of  an  age  at 
war.  And  in  another  way  he  was  a  shining  example  of 
one  of  the  great  qualities  the  war  has  brought  to  light — 
that  of  filial  love. 

He  was  born,  the  eldest  son  of  Lord  Desborough,  in 
1888,  and  went  first  to  Summer  Fields,  and  then  to  Eton 
and  Oxford.  He  and  his  brother  Billy  were  like  twins, 
though  Julian  was  two  years  older.  During  the  whole  of 
their  school  and  college  career  they  made  one  long  record 
of  triumphs,  so  that  in  all  those  years  of  Summer  Fields, 
Eton  and  Balliol,  as  each  time  there  arose  the  crisis  of 
suspense  when  examinations  drew  near,  so  each  time  came 
news  of  the  uttermost  success.  When  Julian  left  Summer 
Fields  for  Eton  at  the  age  of  thirteen  he  already  had  a 
serious  conscious  love  of  religion  such  as  was  the  tradition 
of  his  home.  He  was  to  have  a  life  of  wild  physical 
activity,  but  he  had  a  faith  which  could  never  be  out- 
stripped or  left  apart  even  from  the  boldest  venture.  He 
linked  his  belief  to  all  the  physical  activities  that  he  so 
much  loved.  Faith  has  been  carried  among  strange 
scenes  and  places  by  men  in  their  enterprises,  but  faith  has 
ridden  her  maddest  rides  with  Julian,  and  with  him  on 
horseback  made  her  wildest  leaps  into  the  air.  All  his 
life,  faith  was  the  implicit  companion  of  his  energies. 
But  now  this  thirteen-year-old  belief  was  a  very  definite 
straightforward  thing,  and  had  its  expression  in  the 
simplest  words.  He  was  still  at  Summer  Fields.  There 
had  been  a  very  bad  thunderstorm.  He  said :  "  I 
suddenly  seemed  to  realize  God."  It  was  with  him  as 
with  the  poet  who  wrote  :  "  I  saw  Eternity  the  other 
night."  In  his  after  life  he  again  referred  more  than  once 
to  what  he  had  experienced  then.  In  his  early  years  at 
Eton  he  began  his  love  of  Thomas  a  Kempis. 


Julian  Grenfell 


The  holidays  were  rich  for  the  two  boys  with  every  kind 
of  sport.  Julian  had  begun  at  seven  years  old  to  follow 
and  track  animals ;  and  at  that  age  he  could  fire  a  gun,  and 
could,  with  Billy,  catch  nineteen  trout  in  an  afternoon. 
They  also  went  out  stalking  with  their  father.  As  they 
grew  older,  the  holidays  were  filled  with  riding  and 
shooting  and  fishing.  At  Baledmund,  Julian  got  up  at  five 
every  morning  to  go  out  after  roe-deer,  and  here  a  sea- 
son's record  of  the  two  boys  together  was :  "  277  grouse, 
41  partridges,  5  woodcock,  6  snipe,  4  caper-cailzie,  33 
hares,  210  rabbits  and  6  roe-deer."  Julian  was  master  of 
the  Eton  Beagles  while  he  was  also  editor  of  the  Eton 
Chronicle,  and  near  the  top  of  the  Sixth  Form. 

In  October,  1906,  Julian  went  to  Balliol.  He  was  6  ft. 
•£  in.  in  height ;  and  Billy,  who  was  sixteen,  was  taller. 
They  were  growing  fast.  In  1909  Billy  went  to  Balliol 
too.  They  were  both  so  full  of  happiness  of  life,  there 
was  no  failure  for  them  anywhere  in  their  work  or  in  their 
sport  or  in  their  friends.  Billy  wrote  once :  "  I  wish  I 
was  not  so  passionately  addicted  to  pleasure ;  I  find  my- 
self plotting  for  it  every  moment  of  the  day,  especially 
when  I  ought  to  be  thinking  of  that  solemn  humbug 
Aristotle."  Only  Julian  at  one  time  seemed  occasionally 
cold  and  removed  from  those  around  him;  he  was  re- 
proached for  not  knowing  more  people  in  college  ;  and 
free  and  general  intercourse  continued  for  a  while  to  be  a 
difficulty  with  him  in  spite  of  his  great  love  for  his  great 
friends,  and  he  said  :  "  I  wish  social  plans  had  one  neck  and 
me  a  knife."  Billy,  writing  after  Julian  had  died  to  a  friend 
who  had  known  him  at  Oxford,  said  :  "  You  knew  all  the 
mysticism  and  idealism,  and  that  strange  streak  of  melan- 
choly which  underlay  Julian's  war-whooping,  sun-bath- 
ing, fearless  exterior."  And  sometimes  Julian  was  ill  and 
depressed,  the  result  of  his  great  growth,  and  because  he 
never  spared  his  body  the  rigorous  training  necessary  to 
the  athlete.  The  worst  form  depression  could  take  with 
him  was  when  he  felt  himself  separated  from  God.  If  he 
lost  his  sense  of  communion  with  God,  he  could  not  be 
happy  or  well  until  he  was  possessed  of  it  again. 

Reading  aloud  had  been  a  great  feature  of  their  young 


Julian  Grenfell 


family  life,  and  lasted  after  they  were  grown  up.  When 
they  were  away  they  liked  to  send  their  mother  lists  of 
what  they  read.  From  Billy,  for  instance  :  "  I  am 
reading,  in  various  stages,  The  Shaving  of  Shagpat,  The 
Egoist,  Redgauntlet,  Garibaldi,  the  Homeric  Hymns, 
Aristotle,  and  Virgil."  And  from  Julian  :  "  I've  read 
Gilbert  Murray's  Hippolytus  again — the  best  thing  ever; 
some  Dante  Rossetti ;  the  Psalms ;  the  Imitatio  Christi ; 
and  Belloc,  endlessly."  Nothing  of  what  they  read  or 
what  they  did  was  complete  until  they  had  discussed  it 
with  their  mother. 

And  this  leads  to  the  crowning  glory  of  their  lives,  so 
that  in  any  record  which  is  permitted  of  them  there  is  one 
quality  which  must  stand  out  beyond  all  their  other  ones  ; 
they  were  two  young  men  who  had  a  passion  of  filial  love. 
This  is  a  kind  of  love  which  the  war  has  revealed  in  such  a 
degree  that  its  quality  can  be  plainly  seen  and  dwelt  upon, 
like  a  comet  that  has  swum  closer.  It  has  found  most 
beautiful  expression  in  many  books  of  privately-printed 
letters,  both  in  French  and  English.  Its  quality  is 
different  from  the  two  other  great  forms  of  love,  maternal 
love,  and  men  and  women's  love.  It  is  not,  like  those, 
prompted  by  Nature  ;  it  is  one  of  the  emotions  that  be- 
long to  man  when  he  transcends  Nature,  and  takes  upon 
himself  divine  virtue.  Nature  inspires  those  other  loves, 
and  adorns  them  with  joy  and  rewards  them  with  happi- 
ness. But  filial  love  has  not  even  a  beginning  in  Nature,  it 
is  not  found  there,  and  is  divine  from  the  first.  And  never 
can  it  have  been  more  faithful  and  more  passionate  than  it 
was  in  these  two.  It  was  never  narrowed  down  to  ties  of 
habit  or  gratitude  or  dependence,  for  with  them  it  was 
beauty,  it  was  humour,  it  was  thought,  it  was  the  best  of 
life. 

In  1910  Julian's  brilliant  time  at  Oxford  came  to  an  end. 
His  horizon  widened  to  take  in  distant  countries  to  which 
he  would  soon  travel — to  take  in,  too,  all  the  distant 
hopes  of  his  mind  eager  for  truth.  He  had  written  from 
Balliol :  "  I  utterly  agree  that  building  up  character  for  its 
own  sake  is  a  blank  dead  thing,  with  no  ultimate  end  .  .  . 
But  I  am  just  dimly  beginning  to  see  my  end,  I  do  believe; 


Julian  Grenfell 


very  little  and  very  dim,  but  still  a  beginning.  And  of 
course  I  agree  that  an  ultimate  end  must  satisfy  all  the 
needs  of  the  soul ;  it  must  do  more  than  that,  it  must  be 
far,  far,  far  above  and  beyond  all  those  needs,  a  pure  ideal, 
something  wholly  unattainable,  you  must  have  millions  of 
miles  of  outlook."  It  had  been  arranged  from  earliest 
years  that  he  was  to  be  a  soldier,  and  that  Billy  would  go 
to  the  Bar.  Julian  passed  in  to  the  army  First  of  all  the 
University  candidates.  His  regiment,  the  Royal  Dra- 
goons, was  in  India ;  his  last  months  in  England,  before  join- 
ing it,  were  full  of  the  joy  of  keen  sport  and  of  his  friends. 
One  of  the  best  loved  companions  of  Julian's  life  was  Lord 
Lucas ;  they  had  their  unspeakable  gallantry  in  common, 
both  in  life  and  death.  This  friend  wrote  when  Julian 
died  :  "  You  know  that  I  was  fonder  of  Julian  than  of  any 
living  man,  and  never  can  anyone  else  be  the  same  to  me 
as  he  was  ...  I  think  of  all  the  happy  times  we  had,  and 
of  his  spirits,  his  keenness,  his  skill,  his  intense  enjoyment 
of  everything  that  boy  or  man,  sportsman  or  poet,  loves  ; 
and  it  seems  that  a  great  part  of  my  life  is  torn  from  me." 

In  November  Julian  sailed  for  India,  and  there  the  new 
forms  of  sport,  the  buck-stalking  and  polo,  filled  him  with 
delight.  "  The  pig-sticking  is  beyond  dreams,  I  can't 
tell  you  what  it  means  to  me  ;  it  is  coursing  with  human 
greyhounds."  He  wrote,  too  :  "  The  rains  have  come, 
but  not  real  continuous  rains;  we  go  out  on  odd  days  to 
stick  pig,  in  country  blind  with  new  bright  green  grass,  so 
that  you  gallop  down  a  hidden  well  without  any  warning 
and  without  much  surprise.  I'm  afraid  all  other  sports  will 
fall  flat  after  this."  And  he  has  got  the  very  essence  of 
sport — iron-hardness,  and  suspense,  and  glorious  speed — 
into  his  letters  from  "  this  jungly  place," — where 
"  directly  the  rains  come,  the  grass  grows  as  fast  as  a  horse 
galloping." 

In  the  winter  of  1911  the  regiment  was  moved  to 
South  Africa.  At  first  Julian  was  dismayed  by  the 
change  and  felt  himself  an  outcast  in  a  barren  place. 
In  a  letter  he  said  :  "  I  do  hate  thinking  of  having 
missed  a  wonderful  English  spring,  in  this  pestilential 
continent  where  spring  makes  no  difference,  and  comes  in 


Julian  Grenfell 


the  autumn."  But  soon  he  said  :  "  I  am  getting  fond  of 
it  in  a  way,  almost  against  my  better  self,"  and  he  grew 
to  love  the  veldt  with  its  "  terrific  greatness  and  greenness 
and  dullness  and  bleakness."  In  South  Africa  he  had  his 
greyhounds  with  him  ;  he  had  always  had  a  special  love 
for  these  animals ;  he  had  owned  them  from  the  time  when 
he  was  nineteen,  when  in  an  autumn  in  Scotland  the  whole 
family  after  packing  themselves  into  a  small  motor  for 
excursions  would  have  the  greyhounds  poured  on  the  top 
of  them  like  water.  He  now  wrote  a  poem  To  a  Black 
Greyhound,  of  which  this  is  part : 

Shining  black  in  the  shining  light, 
Inky  black  in  the  golden  sun, 
Graceful  as  the  swallow's  flight, 
Light  as  swallow,  winged  one, 
Swift  as  driven  hurricane, 
Double-sinewed  stretch  and  spring, 
Muffled  thud  of  flying  feet — 
See  the  black  dog  galloping, 
Hear  his  wild  foot-beat. 

See  him  lie  when  the  day  is  dead, 

Black  curves  curled  on  the  boarded  floor. 

Sleepy  eyes,  my  sleepy-head — 

Eyes  that  were  aflame  before. 

Gentle  now,  they  burn  no  more ; 

Gentle  now  and  softly  warm, 

With  the  fire  that  made  them  bright 

Hidden — as  when  after  storm 

Softly  falls  the  night. 

He  wrote  :  "  I've  never  had  such  good  long  dogs  as  now  ; 
four  great  big  lashing  dogs,  and  this  little  pup,  who  is  the 
best  of  the  lot.  I  do  think  that  greyhounds  are  the  most 
beautiful  things  on  earth ;  they  have  got  all  the  really 
jolly  things — affection,  and  courage  unspeakable,  and 
speed  like  nothing  else,  and  sensitiveness  and  dash  and 
grace  and  gentleness,  and  enthusiasm."  He  never  cared  to 
be  parted  from  them.  He  took  some  greyhounds  even 
out  to  France  with  him,  and  in  one  of  the  last  letters 
that  he  wrote  before  he  received  his  mortal  wound  he 

6 


Julian  Grenfell 


said  :  "  The  long  dogs  were  very  good  when  I  got  back 
here.  A  kind  woman  at  the  farm  had  kept  and  fed  them  for 
me.  One  had  been  run  over  by  a  motor-bus,  but  was  none 
the  worse.  We  arrived  in  the  middle  of  the  night,  and 
when  they  heard  my  voice  they  came  out  of  the  yard  like 
shrapnel  bursting.  '  Comrade  '  jumped  up  on  to  my 
horse's  shoulder,  and  when  he  fell  back  they  all  started 
fighting  like  hell  from  sheer  joy  !  "  In  South  Africa  he 
also  played  polo.  "My  ponies,"  he  said,  "are  like  Greek 
sculpture,  only  with  a  neater  style  of  galloping ;  just  think 
how  tired  it  would  make  you  to  play  eight  chukkers  on 
horses  which  always  had  four  legs  in  the  air  at  once."  He 
wrote  also  :  "  The  ground  is  composed  of  holes  and 
stones,  thinly  covered  by  a  rough  grass  called  Prati- 
vesticula.  Thus  for  the  horseman  two  alternatives  lie  open. 
Either  you  fall  over  the  stone  into  the  hole  ;  when  all 
that  has  to  be  done  is  to  roll  the  stone  on  top  of  you,  and 
write  the  epitaph  on  it.  Or,  if  you  are  careless  enough  to 
come  down  in  the  hole,  and  fall  on  to  the  stone,  they  have 
to  lift  your  body,  place  it  back  in  the  hole,  lift  the  stone, 
clean  it,  roll  it  on  top  of  you,  etc. — which  means '  more 
work  for  the  undertaker.'  I  hope  you  follow  me  ? "  Julian 
was  a  renowned  boxer,  and  he  scattered  challenges  into 
the  unknown.  Of  a  fight  he  had  in  Johannesburg  he 
wrote  : 

A  man  who  was  in  training  for  the  Amateur  Championship 
said  he  would  come  and  fight  me.  He  was  a  fireman,  called  Tye  ; 
he  used  to  be  a  sailor,  and  he  looked  as  hard  as  a  hammer.  I 
quaked  in  my  shoes  when  I  saw  him,  and  quaked  more  when  I 
heard  he  was  2  to  I  on  favourite  for  the  Championship,  and 
quaked  most  when  my  trainer  went  to  see  him,  and  returned  with 
word  that  he  had  knocked  out  two  men  in  a  quarter  of  an  hour. 
We  went  into  the  ring  on  the  night,  and  he  came  straight  for  me 
like  a  tiger,  and  hit  left  and  right ;  I  stopped  the  left,  but  it 
knocked  my  guard  aside,  and  he  crashed  his  right  clean  on  to  the 
point  of  my  jaw.  I  was  clean  knocked  out ;  but  by  the  fluke  of 
Heaven  I  recovered  and  came  to  and  got  on  my  feet  again  by  the 
time  they  had  counted  six.  I  could  hardly  stand,  and  I  could 
only  see  a  white  blur  in  front  of  me  ;  but  I  just  had  sense  to  keep 
my  guard  up,  and  hit  hard  at  the  blur  whenever  it  came  within 
range.  He  knocked  me  down  twice  more,  but  my  head  was 


Julian  Grenfell 


clearing  every  moment,  and  I  felt  a  strange  sort  of  confidence 
that  I  was  master  of  him.  I  put  him  down  in  the  second  round, 
with  a  right  counter,  which  shook  him  ;  he  took  a  count  of  eight. 
In  the  third  round  I  went  in  to  him,  and  beat  his  guard  down — 
then  crossed  again  with  the  right,  and  felt  it  go  right  home,  with 
all  my  arm  and  body  behind  it.  I  knew  it  was  the  end,  when  I 
hit ;  and  he  never  moved  for  twenty  seconds.  They  said  it  was 
the  best  fight  they  had  seen  for  years  in  Johannesburg,  and  my 
boxing  men  went  clean  off  their  heads,  and  carried  me  twice 
round  the  hall.  I  was  1 1  stone  4  lb.,  and  he  was  n  stone  3  lb., 
and  I  think  it  was  the  best  fight  I  shall  ever  have. 

All  this  time  in  India  and  South  Africa  he  was  working 
hard  at  his  profession.  He  had,  too,  been  kept  supplied 
with  books  from  England.  He  wrote  :  "Thank  you  for 
copying  '  Since  there's  no  help.'  I'm  reading  no  litera- 
ture now,  only  Military  Law  with  both  eyes ;  it  is  just 
the  opposite  to  literature,  and  is  expressed  throughout 
in  just  the  wrong  words  and  just  the  wrong  way."  He 
said  in  another  letter  in  relation  to  a  book  he  had 
read :  "  I  hate  material  books,  centred  on  whether 
people  are  successful.  I  like  books  about  artists  and 
philosophers  and  dreamers  and  anybody  who  is  a 
little  off  his  dot."  He  wrote  again  :  "  I  agree  with  what 
you  say  about  success,  but  I  like  the  people  best  who  take 
it  as  it  comes,  or  doesn't  come,  and  are  busy  about 
unpractical  and  ideal  things  in  their  heart  of  hearts  all  the 
time."  Julian  was  now  as  always  fulfilling  his  "  great 
task  of  happiness,"  which  made  all  his  life  seem  like  one 
long  act  of  praise.  "  I'm  so  happy  here,"  he  wrote,  "  I 
love  the  Profession  of  Arms,  and  I  love  my  fellow  officers 
and  all  my  dogs  and  all  my  horses."  In  the  midst  of 
cramming  for  his  Promotion  Examination  he  made  a  high 
jump  on  his  horse  Kangaroo  which  was  a  record  for  South 
Africa,  clearing  6  ft.  5  in.  over  a  wall  with  bricks  on  the 
top. 

In  July,  1914,  he  was  dwelling  on  the  prospect  of  leave  in 
England  when  the  first  rumours  of  war  reached  him.  He 
longed  for  England  for  different  reasons  now.  He  was 
afraid  at  first  that  his  regiment  might  be  kept  in  South 
Africa  or  sent  to  Egypt.  He  wrote  :  "  Don't  you  think 

8 


Julian  Grenfell 


it  has  been  a  wonderful  and  almost  incredible  rally  to  the 
Empire  ;  with  Redmond  and  the  Hindus  and  Will  Crooks 
and  the  Boers  and  the  South  Fiji  Islanders  all  aching  to 
come  and  throw  stones  at  the  Germans.  It  reinforces 
one's  failing  belief  in  the  Old  Flag  and  the  Mother 
Country  and  the  Heavy  Brigade  and  the  Thin  Red  Line, 
and  all  the  Imperial  Idea,  which  gets  rather  shadowy  in 
peace  time,  don't  you  think  ?  But  this  has  proved  it  to 
be  a  real  enough  thing." 

On  September  2oth  Julian  reached  England  and 
went  with  his  regiment  straight  to  Salisbury  Plain.  He 
had  two  days'  leave  at  home.  On  the  night  of  October 
5th  the  Royals  left  for  France.  "  It  seems  too  good  to  be 
off  at  last,"  Julian  wrote  :  "  Everyone  is  perfectly  bird." 

Julian's  sister  Monica  had  already  become  in  the  first 
days  of  the  war  a  probationer  at  the  London  Hospital,  and 
Billy  had  got  his  commission  as  2nd  Lieutenant  in  the 
Rifle  Brigade.  It  had  been  suggested  to  Billy  that  he 
might  postpone  joining  the  Army  until  after  the  All  Souls' 
Examination  in  the  autumn,  for  which  he  had  been 
working  hard.  But  he  could  not  stay  for  the  fruits  of  his 
work  any  more  than  he  could  stay  for  other  things  that 
made  life  glorious  to  him.  They  were  already  beginning 
to  lose  their  friends — that  great  company  of  their  friends 
who  would  soon  lie  dead  on  many  battle-fields,  one  of 
whom,  Charles  Lister,  wrote  just  before  he  was  killed  in 
Gallipoli :  "  I  know  now  that  I  shall  live.  I  do  not  mean 
that  I  may  not  be  killed."  The  first  of  these  to  go  was 
Billy's  dearest  friend,  John  Manners,  who  in  September 
was  wounded  and  missing  and  was  never  heard  of  again. 
Billy  translated  from  the  Latin  a  poem  written  about  him 
by  Mr.  Headlam  : 

O  heart-and-soul  and  careless  played 

Our  little  band  of  brothers, 
And  never  recked  the  time  would  come 

To  change  our  games  for  others. 
It's  joy  for  those  who  played  with  you 

To  picture  now  what  grace 
Was  in  your  mind  and  single  heart 

And  in  your  radiant  face. 

9 


Julian  Grenfell 

Your  light-foot  strength  by  flood  and  field 

For  England  keener  glowed  ; 
To  whatsoever  things  are  fair 

We  know,  through  you,  the  road  ; 
Nor  is  our  grief  the  less  thereby  ; 
O  swift  and  strong  and  dear,  Good-bye. 

These  are  extracts  from  some  of  Julian's  letters  from 
Flanders : 

"  We  have  been  fighting  night  and  day ;  first  rest 
to-day  for  four  days.  The  worst  of  it  is,  no  sleep  prac- 
tically. I  cannot  tell  you  how  wonderful  our  men  were, 
going  straight  for  the  first  time  into  a  fierce  fire.  They 
surpassed  my  utmost  expectations.  I  have  never  been  so 
fit  or  nearly  so  happy  in  my  life  before.  I  adore  the 
fighting,  and  the  continual  interest  which  compensates 
for  every  disadvantage." 

"  I  longed  to  be  able  to  say  that  I  liked  it,  after  all  one 
has  heard  of  being  under  fire  for  the  first  time.  But  it 
is  beastly.  I  pretended  to  myself  for  a  bit  that  I  liked  it, 
but  it  was  no  good,  it  only  made  one  carelesss  and  un- 
watchful  and  self-absorbed  ;  but  when  one  acknowledged 
to  oneself  that  it  was  beastly,  one  became  all  right  again, 
and  cool.  After  the  firing  had  slackened,  we  advanced 
again  a  bit  into  the  next  group  of  houses,  which  were  the 
edge  of  the  village  proper.  I  cannot  tell  you  how  muddling 
it  is.  We  did  not  know  which  was  our  front.  We-  did 
not  know  whether  our  own  troops  had  come  round  us  on 
the  flanks,  or  whether  they  had  stopped  behind  and  were 
firing  into  us.  And  besides,  a  lot  of  German  snipers  were 
left  in  the  houses  we  had  come  through,  and  every  now 
and  then  bullets  came  singing  by  from  God  knows  where. 
Four  of  us  were  talking  and  laughing  in  the  road,  when 
about  a  dozen  bullets  came  with  a  whistle.  We  all  dived 
for  the  nearest  door,  and  fell  over  each  other,  yelling  with 
laughter,  into  a  very  dirty  outhouse.  James  Leckie,  the 
Old  Old  Man,  said  '  I  have  a  bullet  through  my  best 
Sandon  twillette  breeches.'  We  looked,  and  he  had. 
It  had  gone  clean  through.  He  did  not  tell  us  till  two 
days  afterwards  that  it  had  gone  through  him  too." 

"  Here  we  are,  in  the  burning  centre  of  it  all,  and   I 

10 


Julian  Grenfell 


would  not  be  anywhere  else  for  a  million  pounds  and  the 
Queen  of  Sheba.  The  only  thing  is  that  there's  no  job 
for  the  cavalry.  So  we  have  just  become  infantry,  and 
man  the  trenches.  I  believe  we're  getting  entrenching 
tools,  which  is  good  hearing.  We  want  them.  Colonel 
Burn  is  taking  this,  so  I've  only  time  to  write  one  word  of 
love.  He's  off.  He  tells  me  I  was  reported  dead.  But 
there's  life  in  the  old  dog  yet !  Bless  you  both." 

"  I  have  not  washed  for  a  week,  or  had  my  boots  off  for 
a  fortnight.  But  we  cook  good  hot  food  in  the  dark,  in 
the  morning  before  we  start,  and  in  the  night  when  we 
get  back  to  our  horses ;  and  we  take  our  good  cold  rations 
with  us  in  the  daytime.  It  is  all  the  best  fun.  I  have 
never,  never  felt  so  well,  or  so  happy,  or  enjoyed  anything 
so  much.  It  just  suits  my  stolid  health,  and  stolid  nerves, 
and  barbaric  disposition.  The  fighting-excitement  vita- 
lizes everything,  every  sight  and  word  and  action.  One 
loves  one's  fellow-man  so  much  more  when  one  is  bent  on 
killing  him.  And  picnicking  in  the  open  day  and  night 
(we  never  see  a  roof  now)  is  the  real  method  of  existence. 
There  are  loads  of  straw  to  bed-down  on,  and  one  sleeps 
like  a  log,  and  wakes  up  with  the  dew  on  one's  face.  The 
stolidity  of  my  nerves  surprises  myself.  I  went  to  sleep 
the  other  day  when  we  were  lying  in  the  trenches,  with 
the  shrapnel  bursting  within  fifty  yards  all  the  time,  and 
a  noise  like  nothing  on  earth.  The  noise  is  continual  and 
indescribable.  The  Germans  shell  the  trenches  with 
shrapnel  all  day  and  all  night ;  and  the  Reserves  and 
ground  in  the  rear  with  Jack  Johnsons,  which  at  last  one 
gets  to  love  as  old  friends.  You  hear  them  coming  for 
miles,  and  everyone  imitates  the  noise  ;  then  they  burst 
with  a  plump  and  make  a  great  hole  in  the  ground,  doing 
no  damage  unless  they  happen  to  fall  into  your  trench  or 
on  to  your  hat.  They  burst  pretty  nearly  straight  up- 
wards. One  landed  within  ten  yards  of  me  the  other  day, 
and  only  knocked  me  over  and  my  horse.  We  both  got 
up  and  looked  at  each  other,  and  laughed.  It  did  not 
even  knock  the  cigarette  out  of  my  mouth.  .  .  .  We  took 
a  German  officer  and  some  men  prisoners  in  a  wood  the 
other  day.  One  felt  hatred  for  them  as  one  thought  of 

ii 


Julian  Grenfell 


our  dead  ;  and  as  the  officer  came  by  me,f  I  scowled  at 
him,  and  the  men  were  cursing  him.  The  officer  looked 
me  in  the  face  and  saluted  me  as  he  passed,  and  I  have 
never  seen  a  man  look  so  proud  and  resolute  and  smart 
and  confident,  in  his  hour  of  bitterness.  It  made  me  feel 
terribly  ashamed  of  myself." 

"About  the  shells;  after  a  day  of  them,  one's  nerves 
are  really  absolutely  beaten  down.  I  can  understand  now 
why  our  infantry  have  to  retreat  sometimes  ;  a  sight 
which  came  as  a  shock  to  one  at  first,  after  being  brought 
up  in  the  belief  that  the  English  infantry  cannot  retreat. 
.  .  .  We  had  been  worried  by  their  snipers  all  along,  and 
I  had  always  been  asking  for  leave  to  go  out  and  have  a 
try  myself.  Well,  on  Tuesday  the  i6th,  the  day  before 
yesterday,  they  gave  me  leave.  Only  after  great  difficulty. 
They  told  me  to  take  a  section  with  me,  and  I  said  I 
would  sooner  cut  my  throat  and  have  done  with  it.  So 
they  let  me  go  alone.  Off  I  crawled  through  sodden  clay 
and  trenches,  going  about  a  yard  a  minute,  and  listening 
and  looking  as  I  thought  it  was  not  possible  to  look  and 
listen.  I  went  out  to  the  right  of  our  lines,  where  the 
loth  were,  and  where  the  Germans  were  nearest.  I  took 
about  thirty  minutes  to  do  thirty  yards;  then  I  saw  the 
Hun  trench,  and  I  waited  there  a  long  time,  but  could 
see  or  hear  nothing.  It  was  about  ten  yards  from  me. 
Then  I  heard  some  Germans  talking,  and  saw  one  put  his 
head  up  over  some  bushes,  about  ten  yards  behind  the 
trench.  I  could  not  get  a  shot  at  him ;  I  was  too  low 
down,  and  of  course  I  could  not  get  up.  So  I  crawled 
on  again  very  slowly  to  the  parapet  of  their  trench.  It 
was  very  exciting.  I  was  not  sure  that  there  might  not 
have  been  someone  there,  or  a  little  further  along  the 
trench.  I  peered  through  their  loop-hole  and  saw  nobody 
in  the  trench.  Then  the  German  behind  put  his  head  up 
again.  He  was  laughing  and  talking.  I  saw  his  teeth 
glistening  against  my  foresight,  and  I  pulled  the  trigger 
very  slowly.  He  just  grunted,  and  crumpled  up.  The 
others  got  up  and  whispered  to  each  other.  I  do  not 
know  which  were  most  frightened,  them  or  me.  I  think 
there  were  four  or  five  of  them.  They  could  not  trace 

12 


Julian  Grenfell 


the  shot ;  I  was  flat  behind  their  parapet  and  hidden.  I 
just  had  the  nerve  not  to  move  a  muscle  and  stay  there. 
My  heart  was  fairly  hammering.  They  did  not  come 
forward,  and  I  could  not  see  them,  as  they  were  behind 
some  bushes  and  trees,  so  I  crept  back  inch  by  inch. 

"  I  went  out  again  in  the  afternoon,  in  front  of  our  bit 
of  the  line.  About  sixty  yards  off  I  found  their  trench 
again,  empty  again.  I  waited  there  for  an  hour,  but  saw 
nobody.  Then  I  went  back,  because  I  did  not  want  to 
get  inside  some  of  their  patrols  who  might  have  been 
placed  forward.  I  reported  the  trench  empty. 

"  The  next  day,  just  before  dawn,  I  crawled  out  there 
again,  and  found  it  empty  again.  Then  a  single  German 
came  through  the  wroods  towards  the  trench.  I  saw  him 
fifty  yards  off.  He  was  coming  along  upright  and  careless, 
making  a  great  noise.  I  heard  him  before  I  saw  him.  I 
let  him  get  within  twenty-five  yards,  and  shot  him  in  the 
heart.  He  never  made  a  sound.  Nothing  for  ten  minutes, 
and  then  there  was  a  noise  and  talking,  and  a  lot  of  them 
came  along,  through  the  wood  behind  the  trench  about 
forty  yards  from  me.  I  counted  about  twenty,  and  there 
were  more  coming.  They  halted  in  front,  and  I  picked 
out  the  one  I  thought  was  the  officer,  or  sergeant.  He 
stood  facing  the  other  way,  and  I  had  a  steady  shot  at 
him  behind  the  shoulders.  He  went  down,  and  that  was 
all  I  saw.  I  went  back  at  a  sort  of  galloping  crawl  to  our 
lines,  and  sent  a  message  to  the  loth  that  the  Germans 
were  moving  up  their  way  in  some  numbers.  Half  an 
hour  afterwards  they  attacked  the  loth  and  our  right,  in 
massed  formation,  advancing  slowly  to  within  ten  yards 
of  the  trenches.  We  simply  mowed  them  down.  It  was 
rather  horrible.  I  was  too  far  to  the  left.  They  did  not 
attack  our  part  of  the  line,  but  the  loth  told  me  in  the 
evening  that  they  counted  200  dead  in  a  little  bit  of  the 
line,  and  the  loth  and  us  only  lost  ten. 

"  They  have  made  quite  a  ridiculous  fuss  about  me 
stalking,  and  getting  the  message  through.  I  believe  they 
are  going  to  send  me  up  to  our  General  and  all  sorts.  It 
was  only  up  to  someone  to  do  it,  instead  of  leaving  it  all 
to  the  Germans,  and  losing  two  officers  a  day  through 

13 


Julian  Grenfell 


snipers.     All  our  men  have  started  it  now.     It  is  the 
popular  amusement." 

He  was  twice  mentioned  in  despatches,  and  when  he 
came  home  for  a  week's  leave  in  December  he  was  wearing 
the  D.S.O.  ribbon.  At  the  end  of  January,  1915,  he  again 
came  back  for  a  week,  his  last  leave.  In  May  he  sent  home 
the  poem  Into  Battle: 

The  naked  earth  is  warm  with  Spring, 

And  with  green  grass  and  bursting  trees 
Leans  to  the  sun's  gaze  glorying, 

And  quivers  in  the  sunny  breeze ; 
And  Life  is  Colour  and  Warmth  and  Light, 

And  a  striving  evermore  for  these ; 
And  he  is  dead  who  will  not  fight ; 

And  who  dies  fighting  has  increase. 

The  fighting  man  shall  from  the  sun 

Take  warmth,  and  life  from  the  glowing  earth  ; 

Speed  with  the  light-foot  winds  to  run, 
And  with  the  trees  to  newer  birth  ; 

And  find,  when  fighting  shall  be  done, 
Great  rest,  and  fullness  after  dearth. 

All  the  bright  company  of  Heaven 

Hold  him  in  their  high  comradeship, 
The  Dog-Star  and  the  Sisters  Seven, 

Orion's  Belt  and  sworded  hip. 

The  woodland  trees  that  stand  together, 

They  stand  to  him  each  one  a  friend, 
They  gently  speak  in  the  windy  weather  ; 

They  guide  to  valley  and  ridges'  end. 
The  kestrel  hovering  by  day, 

And  the  little  owls  that  call  by  night, 
Bid  him  be  swift  and  keen  as  they, 

As  keen  of  ear,  as  swift  of  sight. 

The  blackbird  sings  to  him,  "  Brother,  brother, 
If  this  be  the  last  song  you  shall  sing 

Sing  well,  for  you  may  not  sing  another  ; 
Brother,  sing." 

In  dreary,  doubtful,  waiting  hours, 

Before  the  brazen  frenzy  starts, 
The  horses  show  him  nobler  powers  ; 

O  patient  eyes,  courageous  hearts  ! 

*4 


Julian  Grenfell 

And  when  the  burning  moment  breaks, 

And  all  things  else  are  out  of  mind, 
And  only  Joy  of  Battle  takes 

Him  by  the  throat,  and  makes  him  blind — 

Through  joy  and  blindness  he  shall  know, 

Not  caring  much  to  know,  that  still, 
Nor  lead  nor  steel  shall  reach  him,  so 

That  it  be  not  the  Destined  Will. 

The  thundering  line  of  battle  stands, 
And  in  the  air  Death  moans  and  sings  ; 

But  Day  shall  clasp  him  with  strong  hands, 
And  Night  shall  fold  him  in  soft  wings. 

Battle-poems  are  as  various  as  any  other  kind  of  poem. 
The  mere  fighting-song  usually  ranks  about  on  a  level  with 
the  drinking-song.  And  though  a  poem  of  the  actual 
movement  of  battle,  of  the  march  or  the  charge,  may 
be  fine,  there  is  generally  more  passion  in  the  war- 
poem  that  is  still, — the  poem  that  is  written  in  the 
pause  ;  the  poem  not  of  the  end  of  battle,  but  of  interval, 
of  time  for  breathing  and  the  recovery  of  consciousness 
of  self  after  self-abandonment.  And  such  is  this  poem. 
It  is  a  wonderful  work  of  the  stillness  of  a  soul's  con- 
sciousness of  itself.  It  is  a  fortunate  man  who  can  thus 
gather  himself  up  in  the  realization  of  the  duty  he  is 
about,  and  be  so  sure  and  so  happy.  Other  people — gather- 
ing themselves  up  in  the  calm  of  duties  that  are  yet  not 
terrible  and  not  perplexing  and  not  ambiguous  as  the 
duties  of  war  must  be — wait  long  and  in  vain  to  feel  such 
certainty  and  such  joy. 

On  the  evening  of  May  I2th  the  Royals  were  put  about 
500  yards  behind  the  front  line,  near  the  Ypres-Menin 
Road,  to  support  an  attack  on  the  German  trenches  run- 
ning north  from  Hooge  Lake.  The  Royals  were  behind 
a  small  hill :  Julian  spoke  of  it  afterwards  as  the  little  hill 
of  death.  Early  in  the  morning  of  the  I3th  the  Germans 
started  a  terrific  bombardment  of  this  hill.  Julian  went 
up  to  the  look-out  post.  He  was  knocked  over  by  a  shell, 
which  only  bruised  him.  He  went  down  again  and  made 
the  report  of  his  observations.  He  then  volunteered  to 
get  through  with  a  message  to  the  Somerset  Yeomanry 

15 


Julian  Grenfell 


in  the  front  line,  which  he  succeeded  in  doing  under  very 
heavy  fire.  When  he  returned  he  again  went  up  the  hill, 
with  his  General.  A  shell  burst  four  yards  away,  knocking 
them  both  down  in  a  heap.  A  splinter  had  struck  Julian's 
head.  He  said  :  "  Go  down,  Sir,  don't  bother  about  me  ; 
I'm  done."  The  General  helped  to  carry  him  down,  and 
was  wounded  while  doing  so.  Julian  revived,  but  said  to 
a  brother  officer:  "Do  you  know,  I  think  I  shall  die." 
When  he  was  contradicted  he  said:  "Well,  you  see  if  I 
don't."  He  was  taken  to  the  clearing-station.  He  asked 
there  whether  he  was  going  to  die, and  said  :  "I  only  want 
to  know ;  I  am  not  in  the  least  afraid."  He  was  then 
taken  to  the  hospital  at  Boulogne,  his  sister  coming  from 
the  Wimereux  hospital,  where  she  was  nursing,  to  give 
him  the  care  that  he  so  loved  to  have  from  her.  The 
surgeon  asked  him  how  long  he  had  been  unconscious 
after  he  was  hit.  He  said  :  "  I  was  up  before  the  count." 
He  had  his  parents  beside  him.  His  strength  and  youth 
were  fighting  against  the  deadly  poison  of  his  wound. 
During  all  those  eleven  days  when  he  lay  there  he  prayed, 
probably  unaware  that  he  often  spoke  aloud.  Sometimes 
he  prayed  that  he  might  be  able  to  bear  the  pain.  The 
Psalms  and  the  hymns  of  his  childhood  were  said  to  him 
aloud  ;  that  was  what  he  liked,  also  George  Herbert's 
poems.  The  weather  was  very  hot ;  those  beside  him 
heard  him  repeat  the  song  in  Hippolytus : 

"O  for  a  deep  and  dewy  spring, 
With  runlets  cold  to  draw  and  drink, 
And  a  great  meadow  blossoming, 
Long-grassed,  and  poplars  in  a  ring, 
To  rest  me  by  the  brink. 

O,  take  me  to  the  Mountain  ;   O, 
Past  the  great  pines  and  through  the  wood, 
Up  where  the  lean  hounds  softly  go, 
A-whine  for  wild  things'  blood, 
And  madly  flies  the  dappled  roe. 
O  God,  to  shout  and  speed  them  there, 
An  arrow  by  my  chestnut  hair 
Drawn  tight,  and  one  keen  glimmering  spear — 
Ah,  if  I  could!  " 

16 


Julian  Grenfell 


"  His  voice  was  very  weak.  He  said  it  with  overpowering 
longing." 

Billy  arrived  in  France  with  his  regiment,  and  came  to 
Julian's  bedside — not,  though  they  were  like  one  soul,  to 
mourn  (during  that  time  Julian  never  saw  a  face  he  loved 
look  sad),  but  still  to  know  the  joy  and  triumph  of  all  their 
living  moments.  And  without  having  spoken  one  word 
contrary  to  that  spirit  of  noble  unfailing  happiness,  but 
having  uttered  many  words  of  love,  Juhan  died  on  the 
afternoon  of  May  26th. 

Billy  was  already  in  the  trenches,  and  during  June  and 
July  he  was  constantly  under  fire.  He  wrote  of  Julian  : 
"  I  love  to  think  that  he  has  attained  that  perfection  and 
fullness  of  life  for  which  he  sought  so  untiringly.  I  seem 
to  hear  him  cheering  me  on  in  moments  of  stress  here 
with  even  more  vivid  power.  There  is  no  one  whose 
victory  over  the  grave  can  be  more  complete."  He 
also  wrote  :  "  Death  is  such  a  frail  barrier  out  here,  men 
cross  it  so  smilingly  and  gallantly  every  day,  one  cannot 
feel  it  as  a  severing  in  any  way.  Pray  that  I  may  bear 
myself  bravely  when  the  burning  moment  breaks."  In 
July  he  wrote  to  his  mother  :  "  Darling  Julian  is  so  con- 
stantly beside  me,  and  laughs  so  debonairly  at  my  qualms 
and  hesitations.  I  pray  for  one-tenth  of  his  courage." 
On  July  3Oth  Billy  was  killed  in  a  charge  to  take  trenches 
near  the  Hooge  crater.  Leading  his  platoon,  he  attempted 
to  cross  the  250  yards  of  open  ground  under  terrific 
machine-gun  fire.  He  had  gone  70  or  80  yards  when  he 
pitched  forward  dead.  He  was  perfectly  fearless  ;  he  had 
been  loved  in  an  uncommon  way  for  his  great  and  lovely 
gifts,  and  it  was  said  by  his  men  that  he  had  raised  the 
standard  of  goodness  about  him. 

What  can  be  our  attitude  of  mind  towards  those  who 
die  thus  and  also  towards  those  who  endure  their  loss  ? 
When  pain  and  grief  overwhelm  their  victims  and  conquer 
their  endurance,  then  those  who  are  within  reach  can 
bring  their  charity  and  lay  it  at  the  feet  of  the  suffering — 
all  their  most  tender  charity  of  love  and  compassion.  But 
there  are  times  when  that  charity  is  defied  by  something 
that  is  more  heavenly  than  itself.  Charity  is  a  virtue  of 


Julian  Grenfell 


the  earth  ;  its  pity,  its  tolerance  and  its  love,  are  like 
white  angels  dedicated  to  be  the  guardians  of  human 
failing  and  grief  and  sin,  and  in  a  sense  charity  will  fade 
out  in  heaven  like  a  ghost  in  daylight.  And  so  even  on 
earth  it  can  stand  aside,  unneeded,  while  there  go  past 
swift  figures,  wounded  by  suffering  and  loss  and  death, 
their  faces  bright,  too  bright  for  resignation  and  too 
bright  for  pity — and  to  watch  such  a  figure  go  by  is  to 
see  the  immortal  spirit. 

VIOLA  MEYNELL. 


18 


APPENDIX 

Letter  written  to  Julian's  mother  by  Charles  Lister,  not 
long  before  he  was  killed : 

Blue  Sisters  Convent,  Malta. 

I  can't  write  what  I  feel  about  dear  Julian.  The  void  is  so 
terrible  for  me,  and  the  thought  of  it  quite  unmans  me.  Pd  so 
few  ties  with  the  life  I  left  when  I  went  abroad — so  few  that  is 
to  say  that  I  wanted  to  keep,  and  I  always  felt  as  sure  of  Julian's 
love  as  he  did  of  mine,  and  so  certain  of  seeing  his  dear  old  smile 
just  the  same.  .  .  . 

I  suppose  everybody  noticed  dear  Julian's  vitality,  but  I  don't 
think  they  were  so  conscious  of  that  great  tenderness  of  heart 
that  underlay  it.  He  always  showed  it  most  with  you  ;  and  with 
women  generally  it  was  his  special  charm.  I  think  now  of  the 
way  he  used  to  take  my  hand  if  he  had  felt  disappointed  with 
anything  I  had  done  and  then  found  out  why  I'd  done  it.  I  remem- 
ber a  time  when  he  was  under  the  impression  that  I'd  chucked 
Socialism  for  the  "  loaves  and  fishes,"  etc.,  etc.;  and  of  course  that 
sort  of  thing  he  couldn't  abide,  and  he  thought  this  for  a  longish  while  ; 
then  found  out  that  it  wasn't  that  after  all,  and  took  my  hand  in  his 
in  the  most  loving  way. 

I  don't  suppose  many  people  knew  what  an  ardent  love  he  had 
for  honesty  of  purpose,  and  intellectual  honesty,  and  what  sacrifices 
he  made  for  them  ;  and  sacrifices  of  peace-of-mind  abhorrent  to  most 
Englishmen.  .  .  .  Julian,  in  his  search  for  truth,  and  in  his  search 
for  what  he  believed  to  be  his  true  self,  caused  himself  no  end  of  worry 
and  unhappiness,  and  was  a  martyr  who  lit  his  own  fires  with  un- 
flinching nerve.  Out  stalking,  he  always  wanted  to  do  his  own  workt 
and  he  was  just  the  same  in  his  inner  life.  Surely  the  Lady  he  sought 
with  tireless  faith,  the  Lady  for  whom  he  did  and  dared  so  much  on 
lonely  paths  will  now  reward  him  ?  God,  it  is  glorious  to  think  of  a 
soul  so  wholly  devoid  of  the  pettiness  and  humbug,  the  cynicism  and 
dishonesty  of  so  much  that  we  see.  There  is  a  story  in  one  of  Miss 
Kingsley's  books  of  a  West  African  Medicine-man,  who  found 
himself  at  death's  door.  He  applied  all  his  herbs  and  spells,  and 
conducted  all  his  well-worn  rites  before  his  idols,  and  with  his  friends* 
intercessions — without  any  effect.  At  last  he  wearied  of  his  hocus- 
pocus,  and  took  his  idols  and  charms  down  to  the  sea-shore  and 
flung  them  into  the  surf,  and  he  said,  "  Now  I  will  be  a  man  and 
meet  my  God  alone."  Julian,  from  the  time  I  knew  him,  had 
flung  away  his  idols  and  had  met  God.  His  intense  moral  courage 
distinguished  him  even  more  than  his  physical  bravery  from  the 
run  of  common  men — and  his  physical  bravery  was  remarkable 
enough,  whether  he  was  hunting,  boxing,  or  whatever  he  was  at. 

19 


Julian  Grenfell 


/  think  he  found  his  true  self  on  what  we  all  knew  would  be  the 
scene  of  his  glory  ;  and  it  is  some  melancholy  satisfaction  that 
his  services  received  recognition.  What  must  make  you  still 
happier  is  the  glorious  glowing  tone  of  those  letters  of  his,  and  the 
knowledge  that  his  last  few  months  were  "  crowded  hours  of  glorious 
life  " — stronger  in  death  in  that  they  abide.  I  shall  never  forget  how 
much  they  heartened  me,  when  I  came  to  see  you  to  get  your  kind 
offices  for  this  show.  *The  recollection  of  them  will  be  a  constant 
strength.  No  one  wrote  of  the  War  like  that,  or  talked  of  it  that  way — 
and  so  many  went  from  Leave,  or  after  healing  wounds,  as  a  duty,  but 
without  joy.  Julian,  apart  from  the  physical  delight  he  had  in 
combat,  felt  keenly,  I  am  sure,  that  he  was  doing  something  worth 
while  in  the  world  ;  and  looked  on  death  and  the  passing  beyond  as  a 
final  burst  into  glory.  He  was  rather  Franciscan  in  his  love  of  all 
things  that  are,  in  his  absence  of  fear  of  all  God's  creatures — death 
included. 

He  stood  for  something  very  precious  to  me — -for  an  England 
of  my  dreams,  made  of  honest,  brave,  and  tender  men  ;  and  his 
life  and  death  have  surely  done  something  towards  the  realization 
of  that  England.  "Julian  had  so  many  friends  who  felt  for  him  as 
they  felt  for  no  one  else,  and  a  fierce  light  still  beats  on  the  scene 
of  his  passing,  and  others  are  left  to  whom  he  may  leave  his  sword  and 
a  portion  of  his  skill. 

You  must  have  known  all  this  splendour  of  'Julian's  life  far 
better  than  I  did,  so  I  don't  know  why  I  should  write  all  this.  But  I 
am  so  sad  myself  that  I  must  say  something  to  you,  because  you  know 
how  very  fond  I  was  of  Julian. 

One  can  seek  comfort  at  this  time  in  the  consciousness  of  the 
greatness  of  our  dead,  and  the  work  they  have  left  behind  them, 
and  the  love  we  have  borne  them :  and  such  comfort  is  surely 
yours — apart  from  any  larger  Hope. 


Tours  affectionately, 


C.  LISTER. 


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